On-the-run Cloverhill escapee main suspect in violent knifepoint rape
A criminal who is on the run after escaping from a Dublin jail is suspected of carrying out a violent sex attack while at large.
Detectives are investigating an alleged rape which occurred in the capital's south inner city on Monday night.
A woman was targeted in her apartment during an ordeal in which she was threatened at knifepoint before a violent sex attack was allegedly carried out.
The Herald can exclusively reveal that the on-the-run criminal, who fled from a Dublin jail last week, is being treated as the chief suspect in the horrific attack.
A garda manhunt has been ongoing since the individual escaped from the prison complex prior to his court appearance.
Sittings were under way at the court building in Cloverhill, west Dublin, when the man, who was on remand at the jail, absconded from custody.
On Monday night, gardai were called to an apartment on Cork Street, Dublin 8, after receiving reports of an alleged sexual attack.
The incident occurred at around 10.50pm on Monday and is being investigated by detectives at Kevin Street Garda Station.
The victim suffered extensive injuries to her ribs during the attack, and it is understood that she had to leap from a balcony to escape her attacker.
Gardai believe that a knife was used during the alleged sex attack, and technical examinations of the scene have since been carried out.
A suspect was quickly identified by gardai, and searches for the alleged attacker have been ongoing. However, despite extensive efforts by gardai, he has not yet been located and no arrests have yet been made.
A source last night told the Herald: "Gardai at this stage are confident that they have identified the man responsible for the attack.
"The places where he normally resides have been searched, but he has not yet been found.
"The victim has a number of injuries, including to her ribs, and she is getting all the support available," the source said.
The victim has given a detailed statement to investigators, and was taken to the Sexual Assault Treatment Unit at the Rotunda Hospital for treatment.
The unit provides specialist treatment for women and men aged 14 years or older who have been subjected to rape or other sexual assault.
Gardai confirmed that an investigation was under way, and a spokeswoman told the Herald: "Gardai are investigating an incident which occurred in Cork Street on Monday night."
Officers were also carrying out door-to-door enquiries as part of the investigation into the rape, and have been canvassing the area for potential witnesses to the crime.
A manhunt for the fugitive individual has been under way ever since he fled from Cloverhill last week, and more gardai have been brought in to assist the search following this week's incident.
A separate internal investigation is under way by the Irish Prison Service to determine the exact circumstances surrounding his escape from the secure facility.
During the initial search operation after the man escaped, several gardai, including the Garda Air Support Unit, were brought in to assist.
He was still at large last night, and despite being the subject of a significant garda operation, he has continued to update his social media account since his escape.
Sources last night described the on-the-run individual as highly dangerous, and said that he had been involved in criminality since his teens.
"He is unpredictable and clearly off the rails.
"He is now being investigated for a serious crime while at large, and it is important that he is apprehended soon," the source said.
A number of areas have been searched in South Dublin since his escape from prison, while gardai are now probing whether the fleeing criminal was staying in the south inner city before Monday night's sex attack.